Biography for Eric O. Olsen, PhD

As a Professor in Industrial Technology in the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California for over 18 years, I teach undergraduate and master’s courses in lean thinking, six sigma, and operations management.  I had over 20 years of industry experience in engineering and manufacturing management at Caterpillar, Litton, and Hewlett Packard before getting my PhD at The Ohio State University.  I started my lean journey in 1990.


I continue my professional development with a focus on creating new knowledge in operational excellence, biasing my research towards working with real companies and organizations.  I’ve published, consulted, and trained in lean performance improvement, strategy deployment, and six sigma.  I have run numerous improvement events at Cal Poly and in the local community.


I’m the Director for Central Coast Lean.  CCL is a self-funded research project under the Orfalea College of Business.  Its mission is to better understand how to build a community of lean practice.  CCL promotes, runs, and studies improvement events, forums, workshops, and conferences.  I’m also the creator and instructor for Cal Poly’s Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt Certification Program.


My other roles include being a founding member of the Lean Education Academic Network and the creator of Hobnob-SLO a local community building community.